The Apprenticeship Opportunity Creating a Win for Everyone

The Apprenticeship Opportunity: Creating a Win For Everyone

“I love the excitement of offering opportunities to people, and I’m a great believer that you never stop learning,” says Rebecca (Beki) Reynolds, apprenticeships advisor with the Pets at Home Vet Group.

Beki, who worked in education for nearly 30 years, joined Vets4Pets in July 2017 into a newly created role developed in response to apprenticeship reforms, which resulted in businesses with more than three million pounds in payroll contributing 0.5% of their monthly payroll into a “levy account” ring fenced monies to invest in apprenticeship programmes to attract new talent and invest in existing colleagues.

In her role, Beki looks after the Pets at Home Vet Group’s levy fund, identifying apprenticeship opportunities throughout the business and bringing apprenticeship programmes to life. The Group has created a number of successful partnerships with reputable providers, such as Arch Apprenticeships, First Intuition and most recently, with Lifetime Training, to develop bespoke apprenticeship programmes in a number of business areas, including finance, marketing, infrastructure engineering, recruitment and customer service.  

 “We also have a colleague who is enrolled on a six-year solicitor apprenticeship, which is an amazing opportunity for her to learn whilst she gains invaluable work experience,” says Beki.

All Group apprentices are paid colleagues, and 20 percent of their working week is protected for off-the-job-training, which can be anything related to their role and apprenticeship as long as it’s new learning for the apprentice. Depending on the role, there is a combination of office-based and home-based tasks, online and face-to-face teaching, 24/7 one-to-one tutor support and access to online and offline resources. Each apprentice has regular reviews with his or her manager and is assigned a mentor who offers additional support and throughout the programme, will focus on the apprentice’s well being.  

Creating a more diverse talent pool and providing 16-to-18-year-olds with the opportunity to start a rewarding career are just some of the reasons the Pets at Home Vet Group embraces apprenticeships. Vets4Pets is a proud member – and is the only vet group member – of the Apprenticeship Diversity Network, which champions apprenticeships and diversity amongst employers and encourages more people from underrepresented groups to consider apprenticeships. Vets4Pets joined the Network in January 2018 and continues to learn from longer standing group members and to leverage their expertise to widen and champion diversity within its own apprenticeship programme. 

“As a business, we’re looking to welcome new colleagues that have potential, not just those who have experience and qualifications,” says Beki. “We’re looking at the bigger picture; the long term benefits and the value that apprentices from all backgrounds bring to our business.”

But at Vets4Pets, apprenticeships aren’t just for new colleagues. The company also offers apprenticeship opportunities to existing colleagues, providing them with a chance to progress, move upwards, move sideways, or simply try something new whilst adding value to the business.

We are a business that offers apprenticeships that lead to good career progression. People are at the heart of our business, and we’re passionate about learning and growing together.

 

At Vets4Pets, there’s been a lot of excitement about the apprenticeship programme; however, one thing stood out from the start in regards to making each apprenticeship a success.  

“When we first set up our programme, we did a lot of research and quickly understood that managers needed training to understand their obligations and the workload of the apprentice,” says Beki. “Manager training is crucial as there can be a big learning curve so all line managers with an apprentice in their team now complete an induction programme.”

According to Laura Moseley, who recently completed a CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) Level 5 HR Consultant/Partner apprenticeship, the support she received from her manager is really good.

Laura started her Vets4Pets apprenticeship after being with the company for 18 months.

When asked what Laura would tell others considering an apprenticeship, she replied, “Go for it!”; however, she stressed that an apprenticeship should not be taken lightly and that it requires commitment as you still have a full time job with responsibilities.

This is music to Beki’s ears. “We are a business that offers apprenticeships that supports career progression. People are at the heart of our business, and we’re passionate about learning and growing together. Apprenticeships are a natural fit.”

To find out about available apprenticeship training with Vets4Pets, email apprenticeships@vets4pets.com

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